I assume when pros crash, they do the same damage to themselves that the rest of us do. Although they're lighter, they tend to be going faster. But not only do they often finish that day's racing, but they're racing again the next day. How do they do it I'm thinking mainly about joints.

Why I'm thinking about it/an example:

A couple of weeks ago I had a bit of a crash. Nothing serious and I finished the ride (another 180 km) but the knee I landed on must have got a bit twisted, which seems to be a habit when I go down. We were doing about 45 km/h just before four of us went down in a race-style crash, but I certainly managed to hit the brakes. I was still clipped in with my hands on tha bars when I hit the ground, and I'm only a few years older than typical TdF riders.

After 10 days of taking it easy (ibuprofen, bandage, elevation, some ice but probably not enough, and not complete rest) I was ready to try it out on a club run, and yesterday (2 weeks after) did another long ride in which it really stiffened up at lunch. There's no way I could have been competitive (yes, there were some PRs towards the end, but not on roads I've ridden recently).

But the pros can race again the next day. Are they just stoked up on painkillers/anti-inflammatories? Is it a lot of ice and compression after they get off (which is much sooner even if the distance is the same)? Do they manage to avoid injury in the first place despite crashing with a lot of energy?

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Gary.Ray
    Aug 16, 2018 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


Because there is no answer yet I would like to add my thoughts on this subject, from pure logic perspective and some previous reading on biking theory. Would like to hear your comments and thoughts!


Working environment and culture

  • I believe that professionals should have a base training on how to handle crashes to make them less dangerous. This could include body position and other things which could potentially make a difference in severity of the cases.
  • Instant access to medical staff to make any trauma effect less severe.
  • Direct access to medical staff to analyze the trauma and suggest recovery procedures.
  • Access to professional staff to maintain and speed up recovery, access to massage.
  • Protein-rich diet provides building blocks for body to recover faster.
  • Medical supplements, permitted doping. Good example here with Russian doping scandal related to use of Meldonium. This is a pharmaceutical designed for recovery of damaged by hypoxia heart cells, makes you recover faster after the load. Every professional team has their own set of recovery pharmacy which they would actively use to bring athletes back to business and make them recover ASAP after physical training or trauma.

Personal factors

  • Pain tolerance and hormonal stimulation. Adrenaline rush in a very competitive race environment is something helping pros to continue the race even after getting some serious trauma.
  • Very fast methabolism speeds up recovery significantly and allows to utilize more "building blocks" than any average person would.
  • Psychological factor and motivation. Pros are super motivated to come back to the game and this would make them spend all available time on working to recover from a trauma and go riding as soon as it would be possible and not the hour later. Check this article for the perspective from a pro side of things :)

The world is not just black and white

And last thing, pros are also humans and also suffer from the crashes, so two examples here:

I hope these thoughts were helpful, keep on recovering after your crash, learn from the pros but take your time :)

  • With some sources to back up the main points that could be a really useful answer.
    – Chris H
    Aug 14, 2018 at 6:41
  • You might also answer that they "just deal with it". When an amateur crashes, if it's uncomfortable to ride, you stop. Most amateur cyclist enjoy some suffering, but pain causes riding to not be fun, so not worth it. Pros are getting paid. Crash in a race and need to drop out because it hurts? You probably aren't going to get a job on another team after you get fired because your team captain needed you to carry water. Keeping going keeps you employed. Look at the American that finished last this year. Aug 16, 2018 at 15:25

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